Software and digital devices are imbued with the values of their creators.
The ability to 'multitask,' to switch rapidly among many competing focuses of attention, has become the hallmark of a successful citizen of the 21st century.
Through the miracle of natural genetic recombination, each child, with the sole exception of an identical twin, is conceived as a unique being. Even the atmosphere of the womb works its subtle changes, and by the time we emerge into the light, we are our own persons.
It had to happen to me sometime: sooner or later, I would have to lose sight of the cutting edge. That moment every technical person fears - the fall into knowledge exhaustion, obsolescence, techno-fuddy-duddyism - there was no reason to think I could escape it forever.
Before the advent of the Web, if you wanted to sustain a belief in far-fetched ideas, you had to go out into the desert, or live on a compound in the mountains, or move from one badly furnished room to another in a series of safe houses.
It has occurred to me that if people really knew how software got written, I'm not sure they'd give their money to a bank or get on an airplane ever again.
I'm a pessimist. But I think I'd describe my pessimism as broken-hearted optimism.
My approach to being a self-taught programmer was to find out who was smart and who would be helpful, and these were - these are both men and women. And without learning from my co-workers, I never could've gone on in the profession as long as I did.
Evolution, dismissed as a sloppy programmer, has seen fit to create us as a wild amalgam of everything that came before us: except for the realm of insects, the whole history of life on earth is inscribed within our bodies.
Each new tool we create ends an old relationship with the world and starts a new one. And we're changed by that relationship, inevitably. It changes the way we live, changes our patterns, changes our social organization.
I don't like the idea that Facebook controls how people express themselves and changes it periodically according to whatever algorithms they use to figure out what they should do or the whim of some programmer or some CEO. That bothers me a great deal.
The biggest problem is that people have stopped being critical about the role of the computer in their lives. These machines went from being feared as Big Brother surrogates to being thought of as metaphors for liberty and individual freedom.
Introduced in the 1960s, multitasking is an engineering strategy for making computers more efficient. Human beings are the slowest elements in a system.
I was a girl who came into the clubhouse, into the treehouse, with the sign on the door saying, 'No girls allowed,' and the reception was not always a good one.
Has Google appropriated the word 'search?' If so, I find it sad. Search is a deep human yearning, an ancient trope in the recorded history of human life.
To be a programmer is to develop a carefully managed relationship with error. There's no getting around it. You either make your accommodations with failure, or the work will become intolerable.
The act of voting, to put it in computing terms, is a question of user interface.
Writing was a way to get away from my life as a programmer, so I wanted to write about other things, but of course nobody wanted to publish another story about a family, unless it was extraordinary. When I began writing about my life as a programmer, however, people were interested.
Computer programming has always been a self-taught, maverick occupation.
I like the little semi-competencies of human beings, I realize. Governance, after all, is a messy business, a world of demi-solutions and compromise, where ideals are tarnished regularly.
'I am not adopted; I have mysterious origins.' I have said that sentence many times in the course of my life as an adopted person.
I think storytelling in general is how we really deeply know things. It's ancient.
It's possible to let technology absorb what we know and then re-express it in intricate mechanisms - parts and circuit boards and software objects - mechanisms we can use but do not understand in crucial ways. This not-knowing is fine while everything works as we expected.
I don't know where anyone ever got the idea that technology, in and of itself, was a savior. Like all human-created 'progress,' computers are problematic, giving and taking away.
The condition of my personal workspace is my own business, as I see it.
I think many people have wonderful stories inside them and the talent to tell those stories. But the writing life, with its isolation and uncertain outcomes, keeps most from the task.
People imagine that programming is logical, a process like fixing a clock. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When you lose your Visa card, you get a new card with a new number, and any new charges with the old number are blocked. Why can't we do the same with Social Security numbers?
I'm in no way saying that women can't take a tough code review. I'm saying that no one should have to take one in a boy-puerile atmosphere.
I think that focusing all experiences through the lens of the Internet is an example of not being able to see history through the eyes of others, to be so enamored of one's present time that one cannot see that the world was once elsewise and was not about you.
My mother told me that my birth mother got pregnant by a married man who didn't want to leave his wife.
There's some intimacy in reading, some thoughtfulness that doesn't exist in machine experiences.
No one in the government is seriously penalized when Social Security numbers are stolen and misused; only the number-holders suffer.
When knowledge passes into code, it changes state; like water turned to ice, it becomes a new thing, with new properties. We use it, but in a human sense, we no longer know it.
Internet voting is surely coming. Though online ballots cannot be made secure, though the problems of voter authentication and privacy will remain unsolvable, I suspect we'll go ahead and do it anyway.
Y2K has challenged a belief in digital technology that has been almost religious.
I used to pass by a large computer system with the feeling that it represented the summed-up knowledge of human beings. It reassured me to think of all those programs as a kind of library in which our understanding of the world was recorded in intricate and exquisite detail.
I hate to see capable, smart people out of work - young or old.
All things change, but we always have to think: what are we leaving behind?
When I am around people I most admire, I tend to hug the wall.
Staring prejudice in the face imposes a cruel discipline: to structure your anger, to achieve a certain dignity, an angry dignity.